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USWNT announces departure of union counsel in CBA negotiations

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U.S. women’s national team players say attorney Rich Nichols will no longer serve as the union’s counsel in contract negotiations with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

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The players’ current contract runs through Saturday. Nichols had represented U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team Players Association in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, which had become more frequent this month as the deadline approached.

Nichols became executive director of the USWNTPA in late 2014.

“We are focused on productive conversations with U.S. Soccer regarding our future,” the players said in a statement released Wednesday. “We are also grateful for the tremendous ongoing support for women’s soccer from all of our beloved fans worldwide, and look forward to seeing everyone over the course of the NWSL season, as well as at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup in March.”

The players also thanked Nichols for his service. Nichols did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The players said they could not comment further on the matter. Neither the USWNTPA nor U.S. Soccer have filed a 60-day notice of termination that is necessary for a work stoppage, meaning talks will continue into the new year.

[ MORE: Transfer needs for all 20 Premier League clubs in January ]

There were no talks scheduled this weekend.

“We remain committed to working together with the players to continue negotiating a new CBA,” U.S. Soccer Director of Communications Neil Buethe said late Wednesday.

Early this year the U.S. Soccer Federation filed a lawsuit to clarify the Dec. 31 expiration date of the contract with the players’ union. The union had maintained that a memorandum of understanding agreed to in March 2013 can be terminated at any time, ostensibly opening up the possibility of a labor action during the Olympics this past summer.

But a federal judge ruled in June that the team remained bound by a no-strike provision from its 2005-12 collective bargaining agreement.

A group of players had also filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late March that alleged wage discrimination by the federation. The players maintained that their male national team counterparts earned in many cases far more than they did. There has been no decision in the EEOC complaint.

U.S. soccer has said that much of pay disparity was the result of differences in the collective bargaining agreements with each team.

[ MORE: Monday’s PL roundup – Liverpool draw late; Man Utd keep winning ]

The women’s team had set up its compensation structure, which included a guaranteed salary rather than a pay-for-play model like the men, in the last collective bargaining agreement. The players also earn salaries – paid by the federation – for playing in the National Women’s Soccer League.

The women’s team also receives other benefits, including health care paid for by the U.S. Olympic Committee, that the men’s national team players don’t receive, the federation has maintained.

The next major tournament for the team is the SheBelieves Cup, which is scheduled for March. The first SheBelieves Cup tournament was held earlier this year, featuring matches against France, England and Germany in advance of the Olympic Games.

Day 9: USMNT tops Group F and more from the U20 World Cup

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Five teams booked their place in the knockout phase at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup on Sunday, including Tab Ramos and the U.S. after the Americans picked up a valuable point to finish atop Group F.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

USMNT U-20s 1-1 Saudi Arabia

An unbeaten record in group play has Ramos and Co. moving on to the Round of 16, where the U.S. will meet New Zealand. Brooks Lennon inked his name on the scoresheet for the first time at this month’s World Cup just prior to halftime, before Abdulelah Alamri equalized with almost a quarter hour left to play.

Senegal 0-0 Ecuador

A draw was all Senegal needed to ensure it would continue its run at the World Cup, while Ecuador fell short of a final 16 bid after only managing two draws during Group F play.

New Zealand 0-2 France

With nine goals for and none conceded during Group E play, France remains one of the heavy hitters at the conclusion of the group phase. Les Bleus received a strong contribution from Bastia winger Allan Saint-Maximin, who netted twice in the first half.

Honduras 2-0 Vietnam

Honduras scored twice in the final 14 minutes-plus added time but neither nation reaches the Round of 16 with Sunday’s result.

Daly collapses during match, treated for heat illness

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HOUSTON (AP) Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly collapsed during the final minute of a National Women’s Soccer League match against the Seattle Reign as temperatures climbed into the 90s.

The 25-year-old Daly was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital, where the team said she was being treated for heat illness.

The temperature at BBVA Compass Stadium was 92 degrees at the 3 p.m. kickoff. The Reign won 2-0.

[ MORE: Perisic talking with Man Utd? ]

The NWSL issued a statement that said the league had worked with the Dash before the season to schedule any afternoon games early in the year to help avoid heat issues. The teams took a hydration break late in the match.

“We will immediately review these measures to prevent this situation from occurring in the future,” the statement said.

Reign coach Laura Harvey posted to Twitter: “Proud of the team today. Some of the hottest conditions I’ve seen. Road games are tough but that was crazy.”

MLS roundup: Outrageous dive, posts doom ‘Caps; Ramirez stays red hot

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Six matches are in the books on a busy Saturday in Major League Soccer, and five of them finished 1-0.

How they got there? Much different stories. With the Cali Clasico still to play, let’s dig into the five that followed Seattle 1-0 Portland.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]


Vancouver Whitecaps 0-1 DC United

It’s especially difficult to win on the road in Major League Soccer, unless the hosts fritter away four good chances off the woodwork — including a Cristian Techera PK — and give away a spot kick of their own. Lamar Neagle converted the 61st offering after a sinister dive from Jose Guillermo Ortiz. He was taken off soon after, and is probably going to miss sometime when the DisCo is done with him. Outrageous.

New York Red Bulls 2-1 New England Revolution

Not one, not two, nor three, but four New England players saw a low cross slide by them for Daniel Royer to finish as New York came from behind to take all three points at Red Bull Arena. Cody Cropper committed a gaffe that allowed Bradley Wright-Phillips to equalize after a Lee Nguyen PK had put the Revs ahead early.

Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sporting KC

Homegrown defender and University of Denver product Kortne Ford has his first MLS goal, as the Rapids surprised the Western Conference leaders on Saturday. SKC outshot Colorado by nearly 20 attempts (Shoulder shrug emoji).

Minnesota United 1-0 Orlando City

There were questions as to whether NASL superstar Christian Ramirez could translate his game to Major League Soccer.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Ramirez has eight goals in 13 MLS matches, and should be hearing his name from a certain Bruce Arena around Gold Cup time. Those USMNT dreams of last season should come true.

Bobby Shuttleworth made six saves for his third shutout of the season. All have come at home.

Real Salt Lake 1-0 Philadelphia Union

Joao Plata keeps shooting, and the tiny Ecuadorian menace keeps scoring, too. His 36th minute goal was enough for the hosts at Rio Tinto.

Raiola: Zlatan to “100 percent” stay in Europe for two seasons

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35 and coming off major knee surgery, but that isn’t stopping suitors from lining up across Europe.

[ MORE: Perisic to Man Utd? ]

Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, says that MLS is not an option for the Swede over the next two seasons. From Sky Sports:

“Many clubs have asked for Zlatan. He can play two more years and will stay in Europe, 100 per cent.”

It would make sense for Ibrahimovic to stay around Manchester United, where he is admired by Jose Mourinho and coming off a season that showed he’s still capable of contributing at a high level.

But he remains beloved in Italy, and would be effective for most clubs in the Top 5 leagues should he return at even 75 percent of the Zlatan we’ve seen regularly.